11th October 1980
'HULK' STEVE RUNS AMOK!
Exeter 1 (P. Rogers)
Huddersfield 4 (Kindon 3, Stanton)
Match Report by Gordon Hines
EXETER City's theory that the coming heavy grounds will suit their style of play was exploded with bomb-blast effect at St. James' Park yesterday. The pitch was much heavier than usual after the recent rains, yet it did nothing to compensate for City's usually slick style of play. Indeed, the surface was tailor-made for Huddersfield's incredible hulks as opposed to Exeter's diddy-men! And the fact that Steve Kindon whipped in a hat-trick merely underlined that big is beautiful when the conditions call for strength and stamina. Kindon scored twice as the Leeds Road men built up a shock 3-1 interval lead, and completed his hat trick 18 minutes from time. with a downward header across keeper Ian Main. Wide-man Dave Cowling had to hoist the ball beyond three Exeter defenders to reach Kindon but he managed with perfect precision for the former Burnley and Wolves striker to complete the final part of a three- chapter success story. Exeter had no one to provide such killer crosses into the goalmouth and certainly no one on the day with the same finishing qualities displayed by attacking king-pin Kindon.
To see Exeter struggle was like watching a foreign team from a foreign planet; it was far and above their poorest display of the season although full marks to Huddersfield for the manner in which they cashed in. City had two periods during the game when they might have stretched their unbeaten home record to 16 matches dating back to last season. First, when Peter Rogers equalised Kindon's 90-second goal with a shot that took a wicked deflection to beat keeper Andy Rankin after 18 minutes. And again immediately after the interval when they tore at Huddersfield's' throat in a frenzied attempt to cancel out the Yorkshiremen's 3-1 lead. Steve Neville shot against Rankin's legs and the follow-up effort by Peter Rogers cannoned off a defender's body for a corner. Then came the miss, and possibly the turning point, of the game when Tony Kellow headed a Martyn Rogers cross into the side-netting with a far post chance that he normally devours for breakfast. The fact Kellow missed the target was bad enough but there were other players inside the Hud- dersfield six-yard box if Kellow's reaction had only been to feed the ball back across goal: Exeter sensed from that moment that it wasn't their day and even the arrival of substitute Dick Forbes for the injured Pearson after 57 minutes failed to give them any significant lift. Instead City retreated more and more into a mistake-ridden shell and Kindon's third goal, and Huddersfield's fourth, was always on the cards. Midfielder Brian Stanton scored Town's other goal from an amazing 30 yards when the teams stood level at one apiece. City's defence opened up like Aladdin's Cave to provide the opening while Main was slow to sense the danger as the ball skimmed over the surface and beat the City keeper just inside a post.
"We must blame ourselves for their first three goals,' admitted manager Brian Godfrey. 'We ball-watched too often and Huddersfield scored from the only chances they had in the first half. 'It was disappointing but we have a benefit match against Derby tomorrow night and a reserve game at Bournemouth on Tuesday to get the defeat out of our system.' Pearson's injury amounted to torn muscles.
Main, Rogers (M.),Hatch, Prince, Giles Roberts, Pearson, Neville, Kellow, Delve, Rogers (P.), Forbes (sub.)
Ref: C. B. White (Harrow) Middlesex.